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It’s been a while since my last post. You may notice several changes to Joyful, Brave & Awesome as I start to get into a groove with this whole blogging thing. For example, I’ve decided to change the name of my monthly roundup of recommendations to “Monthly Dose of Awesome”. Also, the website has a new look, thanks to the incredible team at Bluchic. I finally feel like I have a professional site that I can maintain with minimal stress. Whew!

While working on the site redesign these past few weeks, there have been several bright spots. So without further ado, here are some of the things that made February truly awesome.

Heard It in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers: I first heard Maggie Rogers perform on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert in January. Since then, this album has been my constant writing soundtrack. Normally I’m not a big fan of folk music, but the combination of Rogers’ soothing voice with the upbeat melodies is the perfect mix for keeping me inspired and focused. My favorite track is “Leave the Light On,” but honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of her songs. I also highly recommend listening to her interview on the Song Exploder podcast.

When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner: This winter, I joined my first book launch team, spreading the word about Matthew Paul Turner’s new children’s book When I Pray for You. It is no exaggeration that I adore this book, and it’s quickly become a part of JB’s bedtime routine. The book is written as a prayer from a mother to her newborn, imagining all the adventures her child will have and the kind of person her child will grow to be. One thing I greatly appreciated about this book, and the entire marketing process behind it, was the author’s deliberate inclusion of children of different races, ethnicities, genders and abilities. The trailer video for the book features several children with genetic syndromes and/or mobility equipment. And the book itself also includes children with glasses and a child in a wheelchair. Thank you again, Matthew Paul Turner, for sharing this book and it’s beautiful message with the world.

One Day at a Time on Netflix: You know how Netflix has the option to “Skip Intro” when you want to fast forward past a show’s theme song? There are only two shows I don’t use this feature for: The Office (because it’s opening is part of the magical overall experience), and One Day at a Time, because the Gloria Estefan-sung theme song is so catchy, our entire family (yes, even JB) starts dancing. One Day at a Time is currently one of my favorite sitcoms. Imagine a pressing topic in our current society, and chances are this show has covered it: Immigration, gun control, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, LGBTQ+ equality, veterans’ affairs and more. Unlike the “Very Special Episodes” of 80’s and 90’s, however, this show never feels preachy. Oh, and the show stars Rita Moreno – and she is fabulous and I want to be her BFF. Right now, there’s an online campaign to get Netflix to renew ODAAT for a fourth season. So binge watch seasons 1 through 3 this weekend, then start tweeting your support!

What I’m looking forward to this month:

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have the courage to share my special-needs parenting story with the world through this blog. Then I started listening to Emily P. Freeman’s weekly podcast, and soon after I bought her book A Million Little Ways (not to be confused with the wonderful, tearjerker TV show A Million Little Things, which almost made this month’s list). Freeman is now one of my favorite writers and creators out there, and one of the biggest inspirations for starting my blog. Her words somehow comfort and motivate at the same time. Her new book It is based on her podcast of the same name, and it discusses how we can best make difficult decisions, using tools we already have within us. While listening to the podcast, I always wish I had a way to highlight or save bits of insight from Freeman’s words – now with the book I can highlight and make notes and give the words as much attention as they truly deserve. Also, if you preorder the book before April 2, you’ll receive the audiobook, an online course and workbook for free. I’m starting the course this week, and am definitely looking forward to it.

What are you anxiously awaiting this month? I’d love to hear from you!

(Please note: These opinions are all entirely my own, and I have not been compensated to review any of these products. That being said, there are affiliate links in the above post. If you purchase from an affiliate, I may be compensated. I received free copies of books mentioned above for being a member of their launch teams, but I have also purchased copies of these books on my own. )

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